Skip to main content

Unlocking Rural Tourism Strategy

Community Consultation - March 2022 Update

Following targeted stakeholder engagement, residents were advised in December 2021 that Council would be undertaking further consultation activities in early 2022 following the preparation of the draft Strategy.

Since that time, the Victorian Government has released the Draft “Statement of Planning Policy” and proposed landscape planning controls which is intended to guide the future of land use and development in Bass Coast Shire for the next 50 years under the Distinctive Areas and Landscapes Program. Consultation on this phase of the project is open until 29 April 2022 and more information can be found at:

We acknowledge the limited time of many of our community members to read, consider and respond to strategic projects and so have made the decision to postpone progression of the Unlocking Rural Tourism project (including community consultation) until later in 2022.

We of course remain available to discuss this project in greater detail if needed.

What is the Unlocking Rural Tourism Strategy and where has it originated?

The Strategy aims to facilitate sustainable tourism development in appropriately located rural areas and assist with the ongoing COVID-19 recovery, through examining real and perceived barriers to investment and removing them where appropriate.

The Strategy was originated by officers in response to feedback from various sectors of the community that the current controls in the planning scheme are insufficient to effectively manage tourism developments proposed outside of the existing settlement boundaries.

In 2020, Council was awarded a grant by the Victorian Planning Authority to undertake this work.

The objectives of the project include:

  • Reviewing the planning scheme to understand gaps, barriers and constraints on rural tourism investment;
  • Provide recommendations to resolve key land-use issues and infrastructure barriers;
  • Assess demand for rural tourism uses;
  • Identify locations suited to rural tourism development;
  • Provide strategic direction about future tourism land use in appropriate rural areas;
  • Recommend changes to the planning scheme and/ or Council processes and strategies to support rural tourism.

What is a Rural Tourism Precinct?

The Bass Coast Planning Scheme as well as the 2014 Rural Land Use Strategy identify a number of precincts where rural tourism is appropriate. These include:

  • 1003 Bass Highway, The Gurdies (Former ‘Fantasia’ Site)
  • Land between Corinella, Coronet Bay and Tenby Point (Waterline Rural Activity Zone Precinct)
  • Land between Inverloch and Cape Paterson (Bunurong Road Rural Activity Zone Precinct)
  • Land between Massie Road and Bass Highway in Bass (Bass Rural Activity Zone Precinct)
  • Land to the North and West of Sunset Strip on Phillip Island (Five Ways Rural Activity Zone Precinct)
  • Land between Pyramid Rock Road and the Phillip Island Racetrack (Racetrack Rural Activity Zone Precinct), and
  • Land between Surf Beach and Samuel Amess Drive, Newhaven on Phillip Island (Newhaven Rural Tourism Precinct)

With the exception of land in Newhaven, these precincts can be identified by being within the Rural Activity Zone (RAZ).

Rural Tourism Precinct Maps

Community Consultation

2021 Industry Stakeholder and Landowner Consultation

The purpose of this current round of consultation is to provide an opportunity for land owners within an identified Rural Tourism Precinct to provide feedback on their experiences, ideas, priorities and vision for these areas.

Our consultants Urban Enterprise have also begun seeking submissions from key stakeholders for Rural Tourism in the shire, this includes key tourism operators and bodies and state government agencies.

This stage of consultation is being undertaken in advance of the preparation of a draft strategy.

Further consultation activities will be undertaken in early 2022 following the preparation of a draft strategy.

How do I lodge a submission?

To lodge a submission during this stage of consultation, it must be in writing and sent to: Strategic Planning, Bass Coast Shire Council, PO Box 118, Wonthaggi Vic 3995 or via email to by: 17 December 2021.

Will I be kept informed of progress?

If you lodge a submission or ask to be included on the register of interest, you will be kept informed of the project as Council progresses it.

Who can I speak to about this project?

Council’s Strategic Planning Team is available to discuss this project. The Strategic Planning team can be contacted on 1300 BCOAST (1300 226 278) during business hours.

Next Steps

Following the close of submissions on Friday 17 December, Council will work with our consultants to prepare the Draft Unlocking Rural Tourism Strategy.